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The Book

Introduction What is it all good for? Scope of work Project History

Music theory in nutshell Harmony Chord notation used in the analyses The degrees of notes Chord functions Keys, Sharps and flats, neighbour keys Guitar friendly and piano-friendly keys Modulations, key changes Parallel key modulations Relative key modulations Neighbour key modulations Combined modulations Step-up/down modulations Unusual modulations Key-shifts Pivot Modulation Borrowed chords Cliche chord progressions Modes Ambigous harmony Rhythms Exercies Syncopations Shuffle beat Metrical modulations, metrical anomalies Compound meters Disorienting Rhythms Songforms General aesthatics of popular and rock music

Repetitions and variants

Queen - The four of them as musicians Brian May Roger Taylor Freddie Mercury John Deacon

Songwriting Analyses Smile Ibex "No Synth" era expandcollapse Queen Keep Yourself Alive Doing All Right Great King Rat My Fairy King Liar The Night Comes Down Modern Times Rock'n'roll Son And Daughter Jesus Seven Seas Of Rhye Silver Salmon Hangman Mad The Swine expandcollapse Queen II Procession Father To Son White Queen (As It Began) Some Day One Day The Loser In The End Ogre Battle The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke Nevermore March Of The Black Queen Funny How Love Is Seven Seas Of Rhye See What A Fool I've Been expandcollapse Sheer Heart Attack Brighton Rock Killer Queen Tenement Funster Flick Of The Wrist Lily Of The Valley Now I'm Here In The Lap Of The Gods Stone Cold Crazy Dear Friends Misfire Bring Back That Leroy Brown She Makes Me In The Lap Of The Gods... Revisited expandcollapse A Night At The Opera Death On Two Legs Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon I'm In Love With My Car You're My Best Friend Sweet Lady '39 Seaside Rendezvous The Prophet's Song Love Of My Life Good Company Bohemian Rhapsody God Save The Queen expandcollapse A Day At The Races Tie Your Mother Down You Take My Breath Away Long Away The Millionaire Waltz You And I Somebody To Love White Man Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy Drowse Teo Torriate expandcollapse News Of The World We Will Rock You We Are The Champions Sheer Heart Attack All Dead All Dead Spread Your Wings Fight From The Inside Get Down Make Love Sleeping On The Sidewalk Who Needs You It's Late My Melancholy Blues Feelings expandcollapse Jazz Mustapha Fat Bottomed Girls Jealousy Bicycle Race If You Can't Beat Them Let Me Entertain You Dead On Time In Only Seven Days Dreamers Ball Fun It Leaving Home Ain't Easy Don't Stop Me Now More Of That Jazz Live performances in the 70s Modern-era Queen expandcollapse The Game Play The Game Dragon Attack Another One Bites The Dust Need Your Loving Tonight Crazy Little Thing Called Love Rock It (prime Jive) Don't Try Suicide Sail Away Sweet Sister Coming Soon Save Me Human Body Sandbox expandcollapse Flash Gordon Flash's Theme In The Space Capsule Ming's Theme The Ring Football Fight In The Death Cell Execution Of Flash The Kiss Arboria Escape From The Swamp Flash To The Rescue Vultan's Theme Battle Theme The Wedding March Marriage Of Dale And Ming Flash's Theme Reprise Crash Dive On Mingo City The Hero expandcollapse Hot Space Staying Power Dancer Back Chat Body Language Action This Day Put Out The Fire Life Is Real Calling All Girls Las Palabras De Amor Cool Cat Under Pressure Soul Brother expandcollapse The Works Radio Ga Ga Tear It Up It's A Hard Life Man On The Prowl Machines (or 'Back To Humans') I Want To Break Free Keep Passing The Open Windows Hammer To Fall Is This The World We Created? I Go Crazy expandcollapse A Kind Of Magic One Vision A Kind Of Magic One Year Of Love Pain Is So Close To Pleasure Friends Will Be Friends Who Wants To Live Forever Gimme The Prize (Kurgan's Theme) Don't Lose Your Head Princes Of The Universe expandcollapse The Miracle Party Khashoggi's Ship The Miracle I Want It All The Invisible Man Breakthru Rain Must Fall Scandal My Baby Does Me Was It All Worth It Hang On In There Chinese Torture Hijack My Heart My Life Has Been Saved Stealin' New Life Is Born Dog With A Bone Guess We're Fallin Out expandcollapse Innuendo Innuendo I'm Going Slightly Mad Headlong I Can't Live With You Don't Try So Hard Ride The Wild Wind All God's People These Are The Days Of Our Lives Delilah The Hitman Bijou The Show Must Go On Lost Opportunity Face It Alone Self Made Man My Secret Fantasy expandcollapse Made In Heaven It's A Beautiful Day Made In Heaven Let Me Live Mother Love My Life Has Been Saved I Was Born To Love You Heaven For Everyone Too Much Love Will Kill You You Don't Fool Me A Winter's Tale My Life Has Been Saved It's A Beautiful Day (reprise) No-One But You Live performances in the 80s

Appendix Special instruments Special effects Special playing techniques Classical quotes Musical terms Index References


Path: Queen Songs - The Book - Songwriting Analyses - "No Synth" era - A Night At The Opera: You're My Best FriendBookmark and Share

You're My Best Friend

Composer: John Deacon
Meter: 4/4 (12/8)
Key: C-major, (a-minor)
Form:

 Intro | Verse | Chorus | Bridge |
       | Verse | Chorus | Solo (Bridge + extension) | Outro I-II |


The "Opera" album features songs of numerous styles including a three-minute popsong: this is You're My Best Friend. Very unusually for the genre there is no section appearing more than twice. On the other hand, in terms of phrases and measures, we find numerous repetitions or variants. The form is cyclic and very similar to that of Spread Your Wings (1977). Another similarity between the two songs is the lack of (real) modulation.
The arrangement features 3- and 4-part vocal and guitar harmonies (no rhythm guitar), bass (melodic approach), drums, and electric piano. The latter seems to be a strange choice for a "no-synth" album. This is his second recorded song and the first one relesed on single (some six months after the album-release). Freddie's lead vocal features lot of "special effects" (voice, rubato-ized rhythms, ornaments, slided notes) resulting in a really passionate performance.

Walkthrough

Intro
Similarly to many Queen songs, the intro sets the key, this time to C-major. The intro is four measures long. The second pair builds the main riff of the Verse. Drums enter in the fourth measure.

| C1 | C1 | Dm/C | C  |
C:        | ii   | I  |


The repeated rhythm figure from measure 3 with syncopation:

.1 .2 .3 .4 .1
 *       ** * : chords
 *  *  *  *   : bass

 

Verse
The Verse is ten measures long. The phrasing of the lead melody is: ABA'A"A. The eletric-piano figure of the Intro is repeated until last measure. Note that the bass enters many times on the second eighth. The harmony:

C:
/---- 4x ----\
| Dm/C | C   |
| ii   | I   |

| Dm/C | C G |
| ii   | I V |


The lead melody is harmonized in the 1st, 4th, and 5th phrases. Second Verse adds guitar fills and harmonies. Tune shapes:
The first and fifth phrase:     oscillating
Second phrase:                  falling
Third phrase:                   inverted arch, note the onamented (oscillated) firts and last syllables
Fourth phrase:                  oscillating and rising at the end


Chorus
The Chorus is twelve and a half measures long. The second phrase is an extended variant of the first one. The title phrase appears at the end. Second Chorus has modified melody and lyrics.

C/a:
 | Am |  D  | F  G | C  G  |
C: vi |  II |IV  V | I  V  |
a: i  |  IV |VI VII|III VII|

half
 | Am |  D  | F  G | E/G#   Am| G | F  | Fmadd6 |
C: vi |  II |IV  V |V-of-vi vi| V | IV | iv     |
a: i  |  IV |VI VII|  V     i ...

 | C  | -  |
C: I  | -  |


Note the D chord in measure 2 and 5 doesn't really sound like a secondary dominant of G (V-of-V) and it is followed by the subdominant. The phrasing is vague if you take the lead vocal.

Bridge
It's eleven measures long. The first measure is the same that started the Verse; the last two measures are the same that closed the Chorus. This clever re-cycling of subphrases is more characteristic for Freddie's and Brian's songwriting, but it seems John also could come up with something similarly smart. Tight four-part harmonies back the lead vocal during the first measures.

C:
el. piano:| Dm/C | C  #5    | 6   C7   |
voc.harm.:|      | C  E7    | C6  C7   |
bass      |      | C  G#    | A   A#   |
          | ii   | I V-of-vi| I V-of-IV|

| F  | Fm  |
| IV | iv  |

| G   E7   | Am  D    | G6 (7) | G    |
| V V-of-vi| vi V-of-V| V      | -    |
| C  | C1  |
| I  | -   |


Second Bridge is for the guitar solo. The first measure still has a lead vocal. The guitar solo is in measures 2-7 with a single backing vocal. After the solo, the backing harmonies recover first and the lead vocal joins in soon. Beyond the eleven measures there is an extention of four (2x2) measures spiced up with guitar harmonies. The last measure features the title phrase.

C:
| Fm6 | C  | Fm6 | c  |
| iv  | I  | iv  | I  |


Outro
It is eight measures long; last measure is sustained and faded out. The first four measures contain lead vocal, and the phrases, with a little modification, are taken from the Verse. The last measures (Outro II) are built upon V-I progression in varying inversions of the guitar harmonies. The rhythm (ta-daaa) is reminiscent of the outro of Killer Queen (1974) and the live version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love (1979). Beat map for the "ta-daaa"-s:

.3 .4 .1 .2
    * *


Harmony map of Outro:

C:
| Dm/C| C  |Dm/C | C  G|

| C  G|C  G|C   G|C    |